Get Support for Alcohol Detox and Lasting Sobriety at South Shores
If you have wrestled with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) that led to alcoholic liver disease, you may ask yourself: “Will ascites go away if I stop drinking?” Many health complications can arise from alcohol addiction, most famously decreased liver function. If you have decided to stop drinking alcohol, you are making an outstanding decision. It’s a choice that can lead you back to a healthy lifestyle. It’s a choice that will allow you to flourish again.
The entire team at South Shores Detox and Recovery commends you for making this life-altering choice. The road that lies ahead of you is full of rough patches. But consider our experienced professionals your co-pilots as you face your alcohol addiction and have your ascites treated.
We have the know-how to help you find success in your alcohol rehab. We’re not only focused on quitting alcohol. We’ll also help you restore your body. Heavy alcohol takes a toll on the human body, but we are here to help you at every stage of your recovery. From convenient medically supervised detox to nutrition to restore your health, you can count on our assistance.
Unhealthy Outcomes From Drinking Too Much
First, let’s assure you that you’re not alone if you wrestle with drinking alcohol. A news report in January of 2023 by NBC News confirms that alcohol-related liver disease is on the rise, especially among young adults.
Excessive drinking may cause an array of health-related challenges. While the rest of this post will cover alcohol’s connection to ascites, it also acknowledges the underlying mechanisms that cause the decline of liver health.
Here are some health implications of an alcohol use disorder:
- Metabolic Disruption: Alcohol produces toxic substances as it metabolizes and reduces liver efficiency.
- Nutritional Deficiencies: Chronic alcohol use may sometimes cause malnutrition. It deprives the liver of essential nutrients needed for repair and maintenance.
- Inflammation: Alcohol-induced inflammation leads to liver tissue damage and speeds up the progression of ALD.
- Oxidative Stress: Alcohol metabolism generates free radicals that can cause oxidative stress. That’s a condition that causes imbalances in cancer-causing free radicals and antioxidants. That damages the body on a cellular level – DNA, proteins, and cells.
- Weakened Immune System: Chronic alcohol use can degrade the immune system. That makes the liver more susceptible to infections and complications.
- Kidney Failure: People with the symptoms of ascites often have another diagnosis – kidney failure.
- High Blood Pressure: Abusing alcohol over a long time can cause elevated blood pressure.
- Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis: This infection happens when bacteria infect the peritoneal fluid collects around the abdominal organs.
- Hepatitis B: This virus affects the liver and can lead to acute and chronic liver disease and further health complications. You may also hear people call this alcoholic hepatitis.
Besides liver disease, drinking too much alcohol can have many harmful effects on your body’s organs. If you are ready to stop drinking, today is the best day to reach out for help.
Drinking Too Much and Alcoholic Liver Disease
With your stake in understanding how to be well again, let’s look at the proven connection between drinking too much and alcoholic liver disease (ALD).
Alcohol-related liver disease is a severe situation with notable consequences for your well-being. Here are a few ALD conditions you should know about:
Fatty Liver Disease
Excessive alcohol consumption may cause a collection of fat in the liver. Most call this fatty liver disease or alcoholic steatosis. This condition often occurs in the early stages of ALD and may not cause symptoms – at least not at first. However, it is a warning sign of harm to the liver behind the scenes.
Alcoholic hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. The inflammatory condition sometimes leads to jaundice (a yellow shading of the skin and eyes), pain, nausea, vomiting, and fever. It is a severe illness and demands prompt medical care.
As ALD progresses, the liver may develop fibrosis or scar tissue in the liver. This development can degrade the liver and may lead to even more complications later.
Alcoholic liver cirrhosis is the advanced stage of ALD. With it comes extensive scarring of the liver tissue. Because of the cirrhosis, the liver loses its capacity to operate effectively. That can cause several additional health issues.
What Is Ascites?
Ascites is a condition distinguished by the abnormal fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity. It collects mainly in the peritoneal space between the abdominal organs and its wall. This excessive fluid causes the belly to become distended or swollen, thus making a rounded or bulging appearance.
Ascites can result from many underlying medical conditions. One of the most typical reasons it begins is cirrhosis. However, it can also be associated with other ailments like heart failure, kidney disease, liver cancer, infections, and pancreatitis.
The fluid that amasses in the abdominal cavity in cases of ascite is called ascitic fluid. This fluid buildup occurs when you disturb the body’s average fluid balance. It may involve increased pressure in the blood vessels of the liver (portal hypertension) or decreased protein levels in the blood (hypoalbuminemia). These can lead to fluid leakage from blood vessels into the peritoneal space.
9 Signs of Declining Liver Function Causing Ascites
Ascites is an ailment marked by fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity, and it can be associated with various other medical conditions. But the most frequent occurrence is liver disease. The symptoms that go with an ascites diagnosis can vary in severity and may include the following:
1) Abdominal Swelling
The most noticeable symptom of ascites is the visible enlargement of the abdomen. The abdomen organs may appear distended or swollen, often giving a rounded or bulging appearance.
2) Abdominal Pain
Many people with ascites experience discomfort or a feeling of fullness in the abdominal area. The sensations can range from mild discomfort to more pronounced pain.
As the abdominal fluid increases, it can compress the diaphragm and limit movement. It can cause issues when trying to breathe. This symptom is particularly noticeable when lying down.
4) Rapid Weight Gain
Ascites can cause unexplained rapid weight gain. This develops due to fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity.
5) Decreased Appetite
Some who have ascites may experience a decreased appetite or feelings of early satiety (feeling full quickly after eating).
6) Nausea and Vomiting
Ascites can cause nausea and vomiting. It usually results from pressure on the stomach and digestive organs.
7) Swelling in the Legs and Ankles (Edema)
Besides abdominal swelling, fluid retention can lead to swelling in the legs and ankles. Swelling is often severe and noticeable in the lower extremities.
8) Frequent Urination
The body’s response to ascites can include increased urinary frequency as it tries to remove excessive fluid. However, this may not effectively reduce the abdominal swelling.
9) Ubmilical or Inguinal Hernias
Ascites can increase the risk that someone may develop hernias, particularly umbilical hernias, where the abdominal wall weakens and protrudes. In rarer cases, some people get inguinal hernias.
Although these are common ascites symptoms, they can also reveal other medical conditions. These issues must be evaluated and diagnosed to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.
General Treatment Options for Managing Ascites
Once doctors have made an ascites diagnosis, they have several methods of treating ascites. Here are a few options:
Modify Salt Intake
Reducing sodium intake can help the body retain fluid in the abdominal cavity. Thus, modest salt restriction can be useful in managing the condition.
Doctors may also prescribe water pills. Diuretic therapy pushes excess fluid out of the body through the urine. Two common prescriptions for diuretic therapy are Furosemide and Spironolactone.
Remove Excess Fluid
When the condition is severe, a doctor can opt for paracentesis. This treatment method involves drawing out fluids using a needle. It immediately relieves the abdominal pressure.
Lifestyle Changes and Abstinence from Alcohol
While a doctor can suggest treatments to relieve the pressure, the underlying factor that cannot be ignored is alcohol addiction. Stopping all alcohol intake is the main change to help improve the situation.
Besides quitting drinking, clients can make other changes to support their health, including these:
- Regular monitoring of liver function by a doctor
- Yoga and light exercise
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eating a healthy diet or taking supplements
- Improved nutrition
Each of these will contribute to a healthier life during – and after – recovery from addiction. While you can never heal your ascites symptoms completely, you can feel better when you manage the risk factors.
Liver Transplant for the Most Severe Cases of Liver Cirrhosis
Doctors can consider liver transplantation for the worst cases of cirrhosis of the liver. A liver transplant is needed in advanced liver disease when the organ is badly damaged.
With some of the worst liver damage, a liver transplant is the last treatment option that can address the liver disease and other complications.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Ascites?
Your doctor will order several tests if you have several symptoms of liver problems. Some things you can expect when getting ascites diagnosed are these:
Medical History Assessment
Your doctor will begin the process by discussing your overall wellness. Expect some questions about your medical history, including:
- The severity of your symptoms
- Your alcohol consumption habits
- Pre-existing medical issues
- Any prescriptions or over-the-counter medicines
- Other risk factors.
This conversation will help your doctor get a much clearer picture of your condition.
Next, the doctor will most likely ask to do a physical examination. They’ll look carefully at your abdomen and search for signs of swelling and tenderness.
They will also do a fluid wave test. That means tapping one side of the belly while feeling the other side to detect fluid movement – a sign leading them to an ascites diagnosis.
A technician may do a blood draw to conduct several tests, including a complete blood count (CBC) and testing for serum albumin levels. These can conclusively confirm your diagnosis.
It’s Time to Heal from Alcoholic Liver at South Shores Recovery
If you have the symptoms of ascites or damage to the liver or other organs, contact our caring team at South Shores Recovery today.
We can help you in three ways.
First, we can help you stop drinking alcohol. Our medically assisted detox will keep you comfortable as you detox. We also use custom-tailored evidence-based therapies to help change your behaviors.
Next, we can treat any underlying mental illness that might have caused you to turn to alcohol to begin with. We know that the best way to achieve sobriety is by treating this dual diagnosis.
Third, we can help you begin to recover from the physical ravages of drinking alcohol. Our medical team understands the dangers if you develop ascites. We’re equipped to help facilitate the healing.
Reach out to our team today if you are ready to regain a fully functioning life, free of alcohol, and with your liver healing from the damage done!